The final televised Buffy episode offers a very clear Channel Divergence to treat, one which accesses the last of the Extraordinary Vessels, the one concerned with passing on a lineage, with making choices, with encircling a person’s body into a solitary figure — but one which also brings all that to the surface, changing the form of one’s life through manifesting one’s choices. Willow opens this channel with magic (and it often seems like magic for an acupuncturist to be able to treat multiple people simultaneously, as most clinicians can attest.) This post, then, is for Willow.
The Channel Divergence I propose treating in this episode is the Kidney CD. It’s intimate link with the Dai Mai and other Extraordinary Vessels points to its capacity to access not only to the ‘Prisoners of the Dungeon’ (the Turok-han vampires beneath the seal), but also the physiology which will be passed into the Slayer Lineage.
The episode opens with Caleb coming back to life and Buffy slicing him in two, ‘up the middle’, starting with his ‘external kidneys’. Buffy quotes the openign lines of the Buffy series, and comes to the realisation that it doesn’t have to be that way: “one in every generation… She alone…”
Angel and Buffy then have a discussion about having souls, or specifically, about Spike’s ensoulment. Buffy admits that Spike is in her heart. Buffy then returns home. Alone.
Buffy presents her plan to the Scoobies, a plan which will ensure she is not alone. It is also a plan which entails Willow going beyond the darkest place she had ever been. Later in the episode, we will see Willow come out the other side, having gone through that darkness, to a place of light. The Potentials, too, will have to make a choice. They go to the Hellmouth, and collectively feed their blood to the seal, opening it. The non-potentials — Dawn, Xander, Anya, Giles, Principal Wood — stay above ground. Dawn delivers a potent line to Buffy before she enters the Hellmouth: “Anything you say will sound like good-bye”. Dawn then walks away.
Descending into the depths while Willow casts her spell, they wait for their transformation into Slayers. Willow’s spell succeeds. A great battle ensues, culminating in Spike’s redemption and the collapse of the Hellmouth. (The collapse of the Hellmouth incidentally disrupts the Scoobies’ plans for what to do after the battle.)
The final lines of the episode contain food for thought in reference to the KD CD: “We changed the world.” “We’ll have to find them [the new Slayers].” And perhaps most importantly, when using the Channel Divergences of Acupuncture for self-transformation, Buffy says: “Make your choice: are you ready to be strong?”
How exactly does this episode relate to the Kidney Channel Divergence? After all, it is usually used for deficient yin conditions from overwork (“lao taxation”) and adrenal exhaustion (a condition in which too much yin has been transformed into wei qi). Those familiar with the ‘kidney return’ protocol will note that it uses selected points on the KD CD. Symptoms include empty fire, which is a loss of jing giving way to heat. The trajectory of the Kidney CD will illustrate my argument more fully:
The channel diverges from the primary Kidney meridian at KD-10, near the knee. A he-sea or he-uniting point, this point homes to the Kidney organs. A little known effect of the point is its usefulness in treating mental disorders.
From KD-10, the channel moves laterally to link up with the confluent point of the BL-KD Channel Divergence at BL-40. BL-40 is the end of a third trajectory on the Bladder Meridian, originating at Du-4, moving outwards towards the lower inner bladder line (to encompass the shu points of the LI and SI) and down towards the knee. This is one reason why BL-40 is particularly effective in treating low back pain: it connects directly with the low back. In combination with Du-26, the entire spine, including the marrow it houses, is affected. (As a side note, Du-26 also treats mental disorders.)
From Bl-40, the channel follows the BL divergence pathway, passing through BL36 on its way to Du 4. BL-36 and DU-4 both relate to the ability to stand upright, or as Buffy phrases it: “Can stand up, will stand up.”
From the Du Mai, which some readers may recall is the Extraordinary Vessel of individuation and going-out into the world to meet one’s destiny (Du-4 is called ‘Gate of Destiny’), the Kidney divergent channel then homes to the Dai Mai via BL-23 and BL-52, the shu points of the Kidneys and Will, respectively. Physiologically, the movement to the Dai Mai allows the channel divergence to move pathogens to the last of the EVs: wei qi using yuan qi to store or create latency. The kidney uses fear or cold to repress pathogen, especially fear of dying, thus limiting potential of yuan qi. It is the ‘dungeon’, reserved for prisoners who couldn’t be killed (due to status, position, lineage, family relations, etc). Yet the next point in the channel, BL-52, is the gate of will, where one overcomes fear and cold and can make one’s choices. In a way, this is also the point of a ‘will-within-the-will’, a situation in which a person is acting for one set of articulated reasons, but is actually responding to a much larger, more extensive set of choices about his or her life. “Make your choice.”
Following the Dai Mai, the KD Channel Divergences goes to GB26, SP15, ST25, KD16, and CV8. If the Kidneys are a dungeon, the Dai Mai is a closet, into which pour all the unresolved emotional and physiological work entrusted to a particular lineage to work out. The Dai Mai is the means to transmit a factor to one’s future lineage to work out. Physiologically, it helps let go of things person is not conscious of (wei qi is not conscious), often by invoking the qualities of the Gallbladder to help let go of fearful, repressed emotions, the baggage we have difficulty letting go of. It sets the prisoners of the Kidney free. “Anything you say will sound like goodbye.” In patients with a KD CD pathology, the Dai Mai reflex area of the hara is often full or filling.
The KD Channel Divergence pathway then follows the primary KD Channel trajectory on the abdomen, which is actually the Chong Mai trajectory. The KD CD thus accesses the ‘Gate of Destiny’, brings that individuation through the elements of life which need to be resolved, and transmits them within the person to the EV which contains the blueprint of one’s lineage. It allows all that hidden fear and baggage to meet the emotions for resolution. The Chong Mai, as both the sea of blood and sea of the 12 channels, is intimately concerned with the full range of human emotion. “How does it feel, B?” This is also where the pathophysiology can move from consuming jing to consuming blood in an effort to keep a pathogen latent. From consuming the attention of one’s life, to sucking up emotional energy, certain pathologies move more deeply into the body.
From the Chong Mai and KD primary channel points, the KD CD moves to CV23 and the Root of the Tongue, having passed through the Heart. CV-23 is a Yin Wei Mai point, and concerns both continuity — in the case of the Potentials, their continuity with the Slayer lineage, which is their destiny, and all the history and mystery inherent in that lineage — and integrity: how the person remains who they really are in the face of challenges presented by life.
From CV-23, the KD CD then moves along the Jawline. How does a person integrate experiences into her life? The jawline is where one can see how a person chews on, savours, and assimilates experiences. It is also a final place for deposit a pathology: the teeth hold latent pathogens. (If the tooth is removed, pathogenic process may still continue, and move to affect the throat. Gua sha ST5 area, SCM, if this portion of the CD is diseased.) “I want you… to get out of my face.” (Or “a nice, wholesome, my person has a pierced tongue sort of way”)
From the jaw line, the Channel Divergence moves backwards to BL-10, which connects yin to the head via marrow at lower border of skull. “It’s bloody brilliant.” BL-10 is also a Window to the Sky point, and as such draws things up from where they’ve lain buried to the light of the heavens, much as Spike brought light from the ‘trinket’ to the Turok-han. “Spike”
Treatment would be three-time needling, shallow-deep-shallow, as we want to bring up the slayer-essence latent in each potential. However, instead of doing a strictly ascending, or even a looping technique (in which one begins with KD-10 on one side, moving to BL-10 and then down the other side, to exit at KD-1 or BL-67), I will take a tip from Spike, and bring the light of a WTS point to a Doorway to the Earth point, and then move in an ascending direction. Thus, I will begin on the left side with BL-10 and move downwards towards KD-10; then I will move to the right side and begin with KD-10, moving upwards to the nape of the neck. The idea is to bring the idea to the depths of the person, and draw out what is needed to make that realisation an actual reality.
From here, follow treatments with either the Dai Mai or Chong Mai will help ground the person in her or his new identity. KD CD treatments combine very well with Dai Mai and Chong Mai treatments, as can be seen from the trajectory of the KD CD.
In terms of Herbal Medicine, many formulas can be used to augment jing. As for envoys, several herbs go to the Dai Mai and other EVs, but Wu Zei Gu goes to the Dai Mai exclusively (and not to other EVs); to bring the formula outwards to the TaiYang level, Hua Jiao goes to the middle to disperse cold (but homes to the KD channel), and Gao Ben raises qi to the vertex. Both herbs would be good additions to a martial arts training formula like Jin Feng Jiu, which increases jing and quiets restlessness. Jin Feng Jiu is composed of equal portions Sheng Di, Shu Di, Dang Gui, Mai Dong, Di Gu Pi, and Yin Yang Hua, with one-half a portion of Sha Ren. Grind or use whole to make wine, steeping the ingredients for two or three months first. (Guard the body from losing jing while taking this formula; this is especially important for men.)
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So this completes my series of posts on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Chinese Medicine. I originally began this exercise simply because I needed a way to keep my diagnostic skills up between my graduation from acupuncture school and being allowed to practice. I also wanted a forum for presenting some of the more obscure, ‘superstitious’ aspects from the history of Chinese Medicine out into the world.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these posts as much as I’ve enjoyed composing them. As always, the posts have been meant for educational purposes only. If you or another person feel you could benefit from the perspective of Chinese Medicine, please see a qualified practitioner.
Finally, all medicine, but Chinese medicine in particular serves a single purpose: to relieve unnecessary suffering so that individuals can return and live out their lives. The final line of the series puts this nicely:
“You’re not the one and only chosen one now. you’ve just got to live as a person.”
Jason Scott Johnson
2013, September 29.